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Can internal migration foster the convergence in regional fertility rates? Evidence from 19th century France


  • Guillaume Daudin

    (OFCE - Observatoire Français des Conjonctures économiques - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Paris - Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques [FNSP], LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine, OFCE - OFCE - Sciences Po - Sciences Po, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme)

  • Raphaël Franck
  • Hillel Rapoport


This paper offers an explanation for the convergence of fertility rates across French départements in the second half of the nineteenth century that emphasises the diffusion of information through internal migration. It tests how migration affected fertility by building a decennial bilateral migration matrix between French départements for 1861‐1911. The identification strategy uses exogenous variation in transportation costs resulting from the construction of railways. The results suggest that the convergence towards low birth rates can be explained by the diffusion of cultural and economic information pertaining to low‐fertility behaviour by migrants, especially by migrants to and from Paris.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2018. "Can internal migration foster the convergence in regional fertility rates? Evidence from 19th century France," Post-Print hal-01830768, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01830768
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Baudin & Robert Stelter, 2019. "The rural exodus and the rise of Europe," Working Papers 2019-ECO-01, IESEG School of Management.
    2. Vincent Bignon & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, 2018. "The Toll of Tariffs: Protectionism, Education and Fertility in Late 19th Century France," Working papers 690, Banque de France.
    3. Florian Bonnet, 2019. "Beyond the Exodus of May-June 1940: Internal Flows of Refugees in France during the Second World War," PSE Working Papers halshs-02134214, HAL.
    4. André Gröger, 2019. "Easy Come, Easy Go? Economic Shocks, Labor Migration and the Family Left Behind," Working Papers 1086, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

    More about this item


    Fertility; France; Demographic Transition; Migration; J13; N33; O15;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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